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It's useful to focus on what young professionals (YP) should DO to achieve a successful career, but it's also instructive to define what they should NOT DO.
These items should be on the YP's TO DON'T List:
1. Assume that your academic pedigree will get you the career you covet.
Academic achievement is the entry fee to play the career game. Without a solid education it's difficult to begin the career climb, but it doesn't guarantee success even if you are top of your graduating class.
Consider your first job as the beginning of your next learning journey.
2. Rely on a boilerplate template taken from the Internet as your résumé.
It may be extremely easy to download a template, mindlessly complete it and BOOM; you're done! But if everyone is doing the same thing, how will your personal representation get noticed?
To catch the attention of a potential employer, your CV must stand out. It's one thing to use a boilerplate as a starting point to create your résumé, but it's quite another to rely on the template exclusively.
3. Send your résumé randomly out to organizations.
Flogging your résumé far and wide is easy to do, but it is highly ineffective. It's "noise" to most who are not expecting to receive it, and it usually ends up in the trash file.
Forward your résumé to targeted individuals who are looking for talent like you and won't be surprised when it shows up.
4. Look for the "perfect" job consistent with your long term career goals.
Most individuals hesitate taking a position if they feel it might be at odds with their long term career. They don't make a decision and keep looking for what they believe is a perfect job - career fit.
The problem is, you freeze with indecision and never find out. Take the job and discover if it was the right call "on the run".
5. Copy what other YP's are doing to advance their career.
"Marsha is successful. How did she do it?" What works for Marsha won't necessarily work for you.
Deal with your own sh*t. Plot a course that is yours alone.
Copying what others do is lame and holds you in the herd of "the average" forever.
6. Focus on your strengths and weaknesses.
Everyone does it so how will you stand out? It's not about what you believe you are good at, it's about what you are UNIQUE at.
I'm not interested in your strong interpersonal skills, I want to know what you and ONLY you do in a crowd of YP's all vying for a limited number of great job opportunities.
7. Keep doing what made you successful to date.
Momentum behaviour will not serve you well as you move through your career.
Every new job requires an answer to The Magic Question "What do I have to do differently?"
New challenges demand a different approach to the job; believing what worked for you yesterday will work for you tomorrow is a recipe for failure.
Stop doing the stuff that everyone else does.
If you want to succeed, you have to be original in thought and deed.